I’ve already explained why a purely electric performance car will never be as exciting as a petrol- or diesel-powered one. Sadly, some manufacturers have recently decided to jump off the slippery slope and believe that electric propulsion is the only way forward from now on, even though as things stand right now, it still isn’t. Case in point: the Pininfarina Battista.
It looks like a 458, and is even faster off the mark, but doesn’t sound anywhere near as good as one - and costs a lot more. Why get an overpriced, shallow simulacrum of an Italian supercar when you can still get a decent example of the genuine article for far less?
Pininfarina is not alone, though. Lotus’ first all-new car in two decades, the Evija, is more than a match for the Battista; in fact, it looks, goes and feels even more like a spaceship. But it too is a pure EV and, on top of that, weighs 1.6 tons, which is totally at odds with the motto of the company’s founder, Colin Chapman: “Simplify, then add lightness.” The Evija does neither of those things, and like the Battista, has a seven-figure list-price that puts it out of reach of anyone without the salary of a Formula One driver.
I would have preferred it if Lotus had decided to replace the Esprit - they haven’t made a true supercar in over 15 years, and at a time when they need one more than ever, the Evija is actually too expensive to fill that void.
A new Esprit, incorporating design and engineering lessons learned from the Evija, and powered (either primarily or solely) by a suitable petrol engine (preferably a V8 - the previous Esprit was the last-ever Lotus offered with such an engine), would be a much more fitting flagship for the range. The Evora currently fulfills that role, but is now a decade old, and once it goes out of production, the new Esprit deserves to take its place.
In short, both the Battista and Evija are technically impressive works of art, but their irrelevance, enormous price, extremely limited production runs and, most importantly, lack of emotional appeal will ensure that neither one will ever be able to really stir the soul, especially with the inadequate EV infrastructure found in many countries. In fact, I would actually get more excitement from armchair-racing a virtual recreation of a petrol-powered car on a home console or a PC than from pushing an all-electric hypercar to its limits - given the choice, I’d take the former every time.